Category Archives: SharePoint

M365 Twin Cities #M365TC

What is M365 Twin Cities?

M365TC is and organization and event built on the foundation of 10+ years of SharePoint Saturday events. M365TC – like SharePoint Saturdays, SQL Saturdays, and Code Camps, and others – is a free one-day in-person training event put on and supported by the community. Organized by volunteers. Paid for by sponsors. With sessions presented by industry, platform, and community experts in their fields. It’s a ton of great learning potential for you as an individual and for your organization as a whole.

It’s an opportunity for attendees to get free training regardless of organizational budgets. It’s an opportunity for folks to exercise their personal initiative to learn and explore. It’s an opportunity for new speakers to give presenting a try and experienced speakers opportunities to share their knowledge. It’s a mentoring opportunity. It’s a touch point for local service providers and broader service and product vendors to connect with local folks as customers and partners. It’s a networking event to connect with peers in the metro and region.

We usually have two events per year – in the Spring and Fall – that support the rapidly changing technology we talk about. If we have a successful January 2023 event, we’ll likely return to that cadence starting in the Fall of 2023.

By the numbers

For the Saturday January 21, 2023 event, we have:

Why M365?

“M365” is a shift from “SharePoint” as the Microsoft ecosystem shifted, morphed, and expanded. Our SharePoint Saturday events had SharePoint at the center but covered plenty of tangential topics where technology and skill integrations happened. Now, under the M365 umbrella, SharePoint is still a foundational piece but is complemented by a suite of related products and platforms – led now by Teams and working along other areas such as the Power Platform and Azure to name just a few. “M365” provides for the broader scope required to attract attendees, speakers, and sponsors.

Our event here in Minnesota has historically been one of the larger events in the country, though the pandemic took a bite out of our momentum. It’ll take a little time to work back to the events we’ve had in the past – assuming the community still demands them. So please let us know if you are interested in what we’re doing by registering to attend, by spreading the word to co-workers and peers, by letting your organizational leadership and vendors know that we need sponsors to put these events on.

Links

Representing Events in Microsoft SharePoint – Collision between Modern and Functional

Background

There are a number of use cases for having visibility to one or more calendars in SharePoint intranet pages – calendars or events lists where a small groups of folks maintain the list of events and a large group consumes the info.

What are the recommendation on how to achieve this?

Calendars in an intranet. That’s the main detail being considered here. How big of a deal is it?
(No really, I’m curious, please let me know in the comments.)

Initial Thoughts and Letdowns

When it comes to the data, Outlook or Exchange handle dates and events best. However, the only surfacing of data between Exchange and SharePoint is the Group Calendar web part. Group Calendars allow everyone to see it, but also allow anyone to add, edit, and delete from the calendar. Not what we want.

SharePoint has historically had an Events list, that also does a good job of managing events – including All-day and Recurring event capabilities. A SharePoint list has list permissions that allow it to be configured with certain editors and certain viewers. However, the only way to surface the calendar view of this list is using a “classic experience” with the functionality we want but with a very dated interface that not only clashes with SharePoint’s modern look, but is only available on a modern page by embedding the view using an iframe. No web part available.

When using the “new experience” of the Events list, there is a new Calendar view type.

showlist

While this calendar looks great in the modern page, it currently seems to be buggy, does not carry through useful features of the classic view like overlays, has issues with filtering items, and does not currently work with the List View web part (but can be displayed with an iframe embed similar to the classic view). Some of these issues may be resolved with a reported update rolling out “soon” (September CY2021).

NOTE: The calendar view for modern lists isn’t just for event-like lists (which is what this post is focused on). The view can be used for *any* list type with a date column and in many cases is a really nice stop forward for those lists.

A bigger problem with the new experience and the Events list is that when using the new experience the All-day and recurring capabilities are broken. These properties and functionality do not show up in forms, though the fields still exist in the list. To make matters more confusing, while in the new experience, click ‘New’ and get the New item form. The form does not show the All Day Event or Recurrence fields, but if you edit the form, both fields are listed and checked as if they should be visible. Not cool for users or power users…

My guess is that this may be happening because of the integration of Microsoft Lists with the SharePoint interface and that Microsoft Lists do not seem to be able to handle these features either – creating a bit of an inconsistency in the interface. If you create a Microsoft List, you can create Start Date and End Date columns and align them with the new Calendar view, but there doesn’t seem to be a capacity to handle other date/event specific functionality that was available with the classic Events list.

SharePoint does also offer a Events web part, which attaches to the Events list. Rather than displaying in a traditional calendar view, the web part offers two different ‘tile’ views – following that little UX trend. While it may be a change for users, the web parts are a nice offering and definitely has its place within the intranet, highlighting upcoming events rather than leaving users to sort through a calendar view. Clicking on events also leads to a few special pages: Events.aspx and Event.aspx that are clean and easy to read. They also DO respect the event All-day and recurrence feature – which is good, but inconsistent with the modern calendar view mentioned above.

With that, Events appear to be at a bit of a crossroads – with some messy collisions – between classic and new/modern functionality that I hope Microsoft will clean up soon.

Conclusion for now

For now, the best solution seems to be continuing to use the Events list as long as it is available, adding the Events web part to the toolbox (previously only used calendar views), and embedding a calendar view until an updated List View web part comes along. It seems like there are a few “broken windows” here that I hope Microsoft repairs soon. A functional calendar view web part will take a nice step or two forward. Knowing what the plans are for Microsoft List support for events would also be nice.

Am I missing some critical feature or capability that solves these needs? Does the enterprise have have these calendar/event requirements?

What are you using in your intranet?

Questions

  • What is the Microsoft roadmap for Events going forward?
  • Events lists are shown as “Classic” features.
    • Will they continue to be supported?
    • Is there a timeline for support, replacement, or deprecation?
  • Will events be supported in Microsoft Lists?
    • You can create a list with start date and end dates, but no “Recurrence” or “All Day” functionality.

References

SPS Events Shutting Down… Events WILL Continue

Overview

  • SPS Events, the organization behind many SharePoint Saturdays, is coming to an end
  • The events, however, will continue – as “SharePoint Saturdays” or under new and evolving names (like ours, see below)  

Details

Last week – Friday August 20th, 2021 – the SPS Events crew posted announcements on their Facebook page and web site that the SPS Events entity as we know it will be shutting down this coming Fall. Check out the details here: 

This is certainly the end of an era – the end of an amazing legacy built and managed by awesome people. Eric Harlan, Susan Lennon, and a ton of folks and organizations behind and alongside them created a community like no other.

SPS Events did a LOT, but two things for me stood out:

They maintained a “master schedule” for our community of events. This was, and is, hugely important and useful. It helped with visibility to folks in a city, in a region, in a geography to find local events. It helped speakers and vendors with locating events outside of their usual regions. It also helped prevent overlaps and confusion in some cases. All of this was good for the community. I’m not sure where this master schedule will be maintained going forward. With SPS events alone this was a pretty big list. Now with SharePoint Saturdays evolving (as we are) to different names, to physical events, virtual events, hybrid events, etc. it seems like a challenge without an owner at the moment.

They also provided a platform, a framework, and support for new and smaller events to get a foothold when they needed it. This is such an important part of our community. Helping new folks, new speakers, new organizers, etc. across the board where and when we can is a cornerstone of what we do. I’ve never seen it in any community – technical or otherwise – as much as I have in our SharePoint, Office, Microsoft community.

There will likely be a lot of chatter and reminiscing about SPS Events this week. A lot of us have “grown up” through this community, found our paths, built careers, and so much more. A huge thanks to Eric, Susan, and all who have been and continue to be a part of this community. I count myself lucky to be a small part of it in our little corner of the world.

SPSTC –> M365TC

We’ve already had folks reach out and want to get ahead of the rest of it… We aren’t going away. Our local organization here in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, the Upper Midwest – is still here. As we mentioned a few months ago, we’re in the midst of renaming and rebranding. That rebranding effort will continue and we do plan on returning to events as you’ve known them as soon as is practical with the pandemic and all the repercussions of it.

Latest on events

I’ve been holding out hope for a Fall/Winter event in 2021, but between COVID’s Delta variant and venue limitations, an event similar to what we normally do twice a year is not looking likely this year. Normandale is closed to events through 2021. My interpretation of this is that we will look to early 2022 for a bigger event – with all the usual “it depends” that comes with pandemic details. We might look at doing some smaller events in the meantime, but that is very TBD.

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities – What would have been… Spring 2020

With the ongoing COVID situation we had to cancel our Spring SharePoint Saturday event scheduled for tomorrow 5/30 (we did this a while ago). Today I’m bummed – seeing calendar reminders for when we would have been setting up for the event and having our speaker dinner tonight – with the actual event and follow-up events tomorrow and tomorrow night.

It’s unfortunate and sad that we won’t be hosting speakers, sponsors, attendees and friends here in the Twin Cities today and tomorrow. I and others are missing our friends at a time we could really use those visits and quality time with the community we’re all a part of.

Stay safe! We’re looking forward to seeing you all again soon!

SPC20 – Extending and Enriching Collaboration Platforms with Power Apps

The Event

The SharePoint Conference is the premier SharePoint and Office365 content event – held in Las Vegas, NV May 19-21 and will include a TON of awesome speakers, sessions, workshops, and vendors. It’s the largest SharePoint conference around and a unique opportunity to visit with Microsoft folks that are building the software tools we use every day. It’s also typically an event where Microsoft makes major announcements on new features, new products, and more!  Not only do you get the opportunity to hear those announcements first-hand, you can chat with Microsoft product team members to dig into details and provide your feedback.

The Session

This 60-minute session will dig in deeper than my 20-minute session on “7 Quick Wins”. I’ll be talking about opportunities within SharePoint and Microsoft Teams where extending the content, solutions, and interfaces with Power Apps enables users to be more productive and utilize more of the tools available to them in the workplace.

Why am I talking about this topic?

For years we’ve had SharePoint around and organizations have found varying degrees of success. In many ways their success depended on how invested they were with the platforms – how far adoption went in both breadth and depth. Some teams used document libraries instead of file shares, but never made use of things like metadata or views. Some organizations dug into SharePoint lists, built solutions, and took a few organizational steps forward, but rarely were platforms embraced holistically within organizations. Now, we have Microsoft Teams – which arguably is taking on the mantle of the monarch of the collaboration space. For organizations embracing Microsoft Teams it is becoming the one-stop-shop for where to work, where to find critical info or a path to other systems that maintain important information or functionality. One thing that’s been consistent is that there has almost always been a lot of functionality, capability, and ROI left on the table. This session is addressing some of that technical debt – helping people understand what capabilities are available or how those capabilities can be implemented for business benefit and ROI. In most cases that ROI comes from employee time, but it can easily extend into things like preventing or managing expenses or even preventing regulatory lapses or fines.    

What will be covered in this session?

The Power Platform – Power BI, Power Automate (aka “Flow), Power Apps, and Power Virtual Agents all have a lot to offer, but this session will focus on what Power Apps brings to the collaboration space. From my perspective that means access to information – visibility or accessibility to information – getting the information from whatever source (we’ll be talking mostly about SharePoint list data) to whoever needs the data, in the form that they can best consume the data, and on the platform that makes the most sense.

  • We can use Power Apps to build better SharePoint list forms
  • We can build Power Apps using SharePoint libraries or lists as data sources, building better user experiences, connecting to additional data sources, and still surface the solution in SharePoint
  • We can take SharePoint data solutions with Power Apps to the Microsoft Teams surface
  • We can take data mobile with Power Apps

With SharePoint we’ve been building single-page and multi-page solutions for a long time by stitching together the out of the box list interfaces and SharePoint pages and then extending them by customizing views, forms, and other controls. When Power Apps was first integrated into the SharePoint and O365 space it was pitched as all about forms – something we’d been wanting and needing for years. That scenario is still valid and relevant – finally allowing list owners to build interfaces within the SharePoint context. As SharePoint itself continues to evolve, both form and view solutions enter a bit of a gray area as SharePoint features start to overlap with capabilities that Power Apps also offer. Power Apps allows us to build apps, using one or more lists (or other data sources) and continuing to present those solutions via SharePoint pages, though Power Apps can also be used directly in the browser as well. Those same apps are also available via mobile devices in either phone or tablet layouts.

With the addition of Microsoft Teams to our suite of choices, we have another surface to make apps and solutions available. Tabs within Teams allow both surfacing of SharePoint lists and Power Apps. Power Apps are, in fact, easier to add to a Team than they are to a SharePoint page (though neither are difficult). 

The short story is that our toolbox as consumers of business data and builders of business solutions continues to expand within the Microsoft Office space by using Power Platform tools like Power Apps and its partner technologies.

Session Abstract

As SharePoint team sites move to Team sites, mobile workers demand solutions, and makers run into the limitations of lists, organizations look to Power Apps to deliver added value and capabilities to both traditional and emerging collaboration platforms. Explore approaches and strategies for Power Apps with SharePoint and Teams.

Still working in the cross section of Power Apps and other tools and platforms we’ve been working with in the collaboration space… SharePoint, Teams, O365

My speaker page

SPC Registration and Discount

Use code “PRESTON” when registering to save $50. (or click the image below)

SPC_SpeakerBanners_PRESTON_thumb2_th

Keep an eye out for more content and announcements on SharePointTV and the SharePoint Conference video page.

Conference Schedule 2020

OK. Apparently I need to re-up my blog game as last year’s “conference schedule” post is only a few posts down on my site. It is time to get things ramped up again with a bunch of conferences to attend and present at, with lots of news and platform changes, and tons of great information out there. So here’s what’s coming up so far:

April 2-3 – North American Collaboration Summit 2020 – aka “SharePointalooza”, Branson, MO

This is PAIT Group and Microsoft MVP Mark Rackley’s event. He does a fantastic job pulling together a multi-day workshop and conference event down in Branson that includes over 60 speakers including Microsoft folks, MVPs and MCMs. If you’re from the upper Midwest, this is a drivable event and one that in addition to all the great content and networking, gives those of us living in Winter wonderland a taste of the Spring weather to come. If you want a more personal-sized event that’s not as overwhelming as some larger events but still gets awesome content, speakers, and networking, check it out! Come for the content and networking – and get the weather as a bonus!

Save $50 using coupon code: “PRESTON”. Registration starts at $100.
NEW – Save 50% using coupon code: “SPSTC” 

April 13-17 – SharePoint Fest D.C. – Washington, D.C.

SharePoint Fest is a great opportunity for a week of intense training with 2 days of workshops, 3 days of sessions, and lots of opportunities to network with speakers, sponsors, and attendees. We usually see 3 SharePoint Fest events throughout the year and this is the first, with Seattle in late Summer and Chicago in December.

Join us for great Spring event in D.C.! If you do, use the code PRESTON100 when signing up for $100 off your registration.

Preston

April 19 – 23 – MicroConf – Minneapolis, MN

I’m just attending this one – no speaking. I’m really excited to check it out though as this is a conference that’s been around for a few years and had rave reviews from others in the community. It’s been in Vegas for a while and just this year is moving to Minneapolis – where one of the founders is from and conveniently is where I’m also located – so hard to pass up the opportunity to check it out. If you’re an entrepreneur or are thinking about it, make sure to check this out. They’re also expanding to more regional events going forward.

May 19-21 – SharePoint Conference – Las Vegas, NV

Still the premier Microsoft produced and partnered event focused on Office365, SharePoint, and all the tech that extends and supports it. Expect to see big announcements, lots of product team presenters, big names in the community and executives from the Microsoft teams that bring you these great tools.

Use code “PRESTON” when registering to save $50.

SPC_SpeakerBanners_PRESTON

May 30 – SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities [New Name??] – Minneapolis, MN

One of the biggest and best SharePoint Saturday events around. We’ve been going for over 10 yrs with over 20 events. It’s not just about SharePoint anymore. We cover Office365, Microsoft365, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, the Power Platform, Azure, and lots of other platforms and apps that support and extend the O365 space. The last few years we’ve been averaging about 400 attendees and have a wonderful collection of sponsors and volunteer speakers from the local area, region, greater US and sometimes international folks. Join us for a wonderful free event!

No need for a coupon code because it’s FREE !!

July 22-23 – Enterprise Rising Conference 2020 – Minneapolis, MN

This is another local entrepreneur and startup conference here in the Twin Cities doing a lot to bring the startup community here together.

August 24-28 – SharePoint Fest Seattle – Washington, D.C.

More info will be available as we get closer.

September 21-25 – Microsoft Ignite – New Orleans, LA

It moved! Both the date and location. Microsoft’s ultimate tech conference event. More info as we get closer but you can pre-register already.

TBD – Fall – SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities – Minneapolis, MN

Just want to keep this on your radar. We won’t have a date until after our Spring event but we will be back for the Fall with lots of info and announcements fresh from Ignite.

SPC20 – 7 Quick Collaboration Wins with Power Apps

The Event

The SharePoint Conference is the premier SharePoint and Office365 content event – held in Las Vegas, NV May 19-21 and will include a TON of awesome speakers, sessions, workshops, and vendors. It’s the largest SharePoint conference around and a unique opportunity to visit with Microsoft folks that are building the software tools we use every day. It’s also typically an event where Microsoft makes major announcements on new features, new products, and more!  Not only do you get the opportunity to hear those announcements first-hand, you can chat with Microsoft product team members to dig into details and provide your feedback.

The Session

This 20-minute session will highlight and some quick wins, as examples or demos, that you can walk away with and use in your own environments. The plan is to show 7 scenarios, on a fairly quick pace with an average of a little more than 2 minutes per example. Don’t worry though, I’ll stick around after the session for any questions and follow-up the session with posts walking through examples as needed.

Why am I talking about this topic? I’m covering this material and these concepts because there are a LOT of folks using SharePoint, using Teams, even using Power Apps that haven’t seen the capabilities or don’t understand the value these platforms provide and how they can be potentially leveraged together. Sometimes, especially in the cases I’ll be highlighting, solutions can provide a lot of business value for relatively little effort and without additional licensing. There are even organizations out there licensed to use these products and not using them because the organizations don’t realize what capabilities they have available, how to use them, or what the benefits could be! Unfortunately, some of those folks have features or even whole platforms turned off because they’re afraid of what users may do or the organization doesn’t have the controls or governance in place to let them loose on the organization. This session may might illustrate a few reasons – via business value – why features should be enabled…  If they see some examples in action maybe a few will take that back home and make a difference.

So what examples are we talking about? There are so many options available and maybe even new scenarios that will pop up between now and the conference, so I’m holding off on finalizing the top 7 until we get a bit closer. The nature of online platforms and the rapid rate of change gives us new and evolving options all the time. My plan is to stay within the products and licensing covered under Office 365, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and Power Apps so if you’re already using SharePoint, you won’t need additional licensing to gain the benefits of the examples you’ll see.

Quick things I like to make sure folks are familiar with when combining these platforms and potential “wins” for the session:

  • Editing SharePoint forms with Power Apps. You can do lots of really powerful things and leverage the full power of Power Apps, but you can also make the quick and easy form changes that users have been requesting for years. Change the order of fields, change the formatting, add some text or even links to things like help pages, and more!
  • Take your SharePoint list data to the mobile platform.
    Yep, list data is available today via the SharePoint mobile app, but there are advantages to using a Power App instead…
  • Insert a Power App in Microsoft Teams
  • Add a Power App to a SharePoint page
  • Utilize the Power Apps graphing components. Not a replacement for Power BI, but maybe the “good” in a “Good, Better, Best” scale with other graphing options available.
  • Quick data views with the Data table control
  • Connecting multiple SharePoint lists for *real* relational data…
  • Something with Microsoft Automate integration? Eh… maybe, maybe not…
  • Create “action” buttons for your SharePoint list data. Instead of the old: Edit an item, change the status field value, click save steps. Use Power Apps to access and manage data in one (or more!) SharePoint lists and build an interface with buttons that change the status to what you want rather than using the SharePoint list manipulation methods.
  • Display a map to display an address on a page, form, app. I always thought this was cool.

What do *you* want to see?

Most of the content will be for folks new to Power Apps, but experienced with SharePoint and/or Microsoft Teams.  Although new users to SharePoint and Teams will also benefit.

Session Abstract

Quick take-away examples using Power Apps to extend user engagement and data availability with SharePoint, Office365, and Microsoft Teams, and more.

My speaker page

SPC Registration and Discount

Use code “PRESTON” when registering to save $50. (or click the image below)

SPC_SpeakerBanners_PRESTON_thumb[2]_thumb

Keep an eye out for more content and announcements on SharePointTV and the SharePoint Conference video page.

PowerApps for SharePoint Users – Quick Getting Started Resources

A few quick links to trials, sites, and step-by-step details on a few key things

Key PowerApps scenarios for SharePoint users:

Skill Gap Risks – SharePoint Site Administrators

The Minnesota SharePoint User Group (@MNSPUG) met last week to talk about governance of SharePoint Site Provisioning. Brian Caauwe did a wonderful job covering the material. Presentation slides and recording can be found HERE.

During the call, those of us participating remotely via Skype for Business (that’s not going to last too much longer… enter Teams…) had an interesting conversation via the chat regarding site administrators, governance and policies surrounding training, skills, and communication for them.

Question: What examples of risks to the organization have you seen when #SharePoint site admins are NOT kept up to date with skills and platform capabilities?

Respond in comments here or by tagging @idubbs in Twitter. 

Some organizations do a good job with initial ramping up of skills: “Do this training before getting a site”. Fewer, however, follow up after a site has been handed over – with refresher information, policy changes, platform changes, etc.

In an on-premises environment, the platform might stay fairly consistent over time – with updated training made available alongside platform updates.

In a SharePoint Online / O365 environment things are changing at a much faster rate (by Microsoft) and without waiting for updates to internal training materials or schedules.

From a governance perspective, it’s critical to keep your users – especially those managing permissions – up to date – at the very least, to make sure your content is managed appropriately. I’d love to hear from SharePoint users about risks you’ve seen or are concerned about regarding on going site management and how admin training and education impacts risks to security, or your organization. 

Back at it: Spring Conference Schedule

Well, it’s been a nice little break for a few months, but time to ramp it up again:

North American Collaboration Summit, aka ‘SharePointalooza’

Preston - PowerApps New Approaches to the Traditional SharePoint List View

Branson, MO – March 14-15

http://www.collabsummit.org/ – Use code: Microsoft

 

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities

Bloomington, MN – April 6

www.spstc.com
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sharepoint-saturday-twin-cities-spring-2019-tickets-55007874032

What? You’d like to sponsor? Awesome! Contact me at sponsors@spstc.com

 

SharePoint Fest DC

DC19Banner728x90SPSTC15
Washington D.C. – April 29 – May 3
https://www.sharepointfest.com/DC/ – Use code: SPSTC15

https://www.sharepointfest.com/DC/index.php/ourspeakers

 

The SharePoint Conference

Wes Preston-Preston Social Banner-254
Las Vegas, NV – May 21-23

https://sharepointna.com – Use Speaker Code: PRESTON when you register.

https://sharepointna.com/#!/speaker/Wes%20Preston/1913